Campaign seeks to end the ‘R’ word

Yale Secondary student aims to collect 3,000 pledges, starting Feb. 29

Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun signs the first pledge for the 2016 Spread the Word to End the Word campaign joined by  campaign leader Roshan Gosal

Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun signs the first pledge for the 2016 Spread the Word to End the Word campaign joined by campaign leader Roshan Gosal

A Grade 12 student at Yale Secondary in Abbotsford is hoping to spread the word about a Special Olympics campaign.

Roshan Gosal, a Special Olympics coach and the B.C. representative for Special Olympics Canada Youth Activation Council, has become an advocate for the Spread the Word to End the Word program.

The campaign is designed to raise awareness about the dehumanizing and hurtful effects of the “R” word – retard or retarded – and encourages people to pledge to stop using it.

Gosal, with the help of his fellow Special Olympic volunteers and athletes, is organizing “R” word awareness booths from Feb. 29 to March 4 at 10 local high schools.

His goal is to collect 3,000 pledges. Gosal organized the campaign in Abbotsford for the first time last year, when 1,871 pledges were collected.

This year, 60 volunteers are involved at the participating schools.

“Abbotsford is a community of diversity. The youth of Abbotsford are helping to create a world of inclusion and respect of all people,” Gosal said.

To join the campaign or for more information, visit r-word.org.